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Islamic Thought in ChinaSino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution from the 17th to the 21st Century$
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Jonathan Lipman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402279

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402279.001.0001

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Ethnicity or Religion? Republican-Era Chinese Debates on Islam and Muslims

Ethnicity or Religion? Republican-Era Chinese Debates on Islam and Muslims

(p.107) 5 Ethnicity or Religion? Republican-Era Chinese Debates on Islam and Muslims
Islamic Thought in China

Wlodzimierz Cieciura

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines internal Sino-Muslim disputes from the late Qing into later Republican China over the question of whether the Sino-Muslims were a separate ethnic group, the Huizu, or rather a religious minority within the Han ethnicity, the Hanzu. Through the writings of Huang Zhenpan, Ding Baochen, Yin Boqing, Xue Wenbo and other Sino-Muslim intellectuals it illuminates the question of Hui ethnic status as a divisive controversy among Sino-Muslim elites during the crucial formative period of modern Chinese national state and identity. Several different interpretations of the Huizu ethnicity emerged from these polemics. Some considered the Huizu as an inclusive Muslim ethnicity, encompassing all Muslim populations in both Eastern China and in the Western borderlands, regardless of linguistic or cultural background. Others regarded the Sino-Muslims as part of the global and Pan-Islamic “Muslim nation,” and still others as including only the culturally Chinese Sinophone Muslim communities. Based on modern Muslim periodicals, this chapter demonstrates the debates’ influence on the Muslim policies of all the 20th century Chinese regimes, including the Guomindang and Communist Party.

Keywords:   ethnicity, religion, minzu, Huizu, Hanzu, nationality

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